NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2019

Jacob Trouba’s arbitration hearing date set, Martin Hanzal mulling retirement, the Sharks re-sign Kevin Labanc, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reporting Jacob Trouba’s arbitration hearing is July 25. Trouba was among 40 players who filed for arbitration last Friday. The Rangers acquired the 25-year-old defenseman last month in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets.

Jacob Trouba’s salary-arbitration hearing is set for July 25 (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those who filed for arbitration, Trouba’s situation could be the most interesting. Brooks believes it would be “stunning” if the process reaches that point. Trouba went through arbitration with the Jets last summer and was awarded a one-year. $5.5-million contract.

Coming off a career-best 50-point performance last season, Troub could seek between $7 – $8 million per season on his next contract. He’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Rangers will want to ink him to a long-term deal but Cap Friendly indicates they only have around $8 million in cap space. They also have RFAs Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, and Tony DeAngelo to re-sign.

A new deal for Trouba will eat up most or all of their remaining cap space. A cost-cutting trade or contract buyouts will be necessary to free up sufficient cap space for the others. 

iDNES.CZ: A nagging back injury has Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal considering retirement. The 32-year-old has already undergone three operations. He has a year remaining on his contract with a salary-cap hit of $4.75 million.

Hanzal said he has an agreement with the Stars to report to training camp in September. He intends to continue off-season training but if the condition persists he could hang up his skates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link. When healthy, Hanzal is an effective two-way checking forward. Injuries, however, have frequently sidelined him in recent years. He played only 45 games over the last two seasons with the Stars. 

TSN: The San Jose Sharks re-signed forward Kevin Labanc to a one-year, $1-million contract. Labanc tallied 56 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a helluva re-signing by the Sharks. Labanc was coming off his entry-level contract and also posted 40 points in 2017-18. He was in line for a significant raise but left a lot of money on the table by accepting this offer.

With the Sharks pressed for cap space and looking to bring back Joe Thornton and perhaps Patrick Marleau for one more season, Labanc did them a big favor. I daresay general manager Doug Wilson promised a much bigger payday for Labanc next summer. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Zach Sanford to a two-year, $1.5-million contract.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed defenseman Ryan Graves to a one-year, two-way contract.


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 5, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 5, 2019

More speculation over possible moves by the Leafs, an update on the Oilers’ attempts to sign Ken Holland as their new GM, some Flames conjecture and more in today’s Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently suggested several ways Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas could make a big move this summer. Trading William Nylander for a hefty return is one. Chasing a marquee free agent such as Tyler Myers, Jeff Skinner, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Hayes or Joe Pavelski is another.

Will the Toronto Maple Leafs trade William Nylander this summer? (Photo via NHL.com).

Using some young assets like Jeremy Bracco, Timothy Liljegren, Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen as trade bait for a right-handed defenseman like could be an option. The Florida Panthers are looking to make changes. The Nashville Predators, and Carolina Hurricanes are deep in blueline talent. The Los Angeles Kings (Drew Doughty) are rebuilding, the Pittsburgh Penguins could be ready to shake up their core, and the Vegas Golden Knights are “in it to win it”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Fox is just speculating here. We don’t know what Dubas has in store for his club this summer. 

Trading Nylander isn’t an option if the Leafs GM abides by his promise not to trade him. Of that “marquee talent” Fox listed, Skinner and Pavelski are the only ones who fit the bill.  Either guy won’t fit address their defense needs unless Dubas has other deals in the hopper. Myers would be a good fit on their blueline. 

Targeting a big-ticket defenseman from one of those clubs on Fox’s list is impossible unless Dubas frees up sufficient salary-cap room to take on the expensive contract. Trading Nylander and/or finding a way to shed Patrick Marleau’s $6.25-million salary-cap hit (another of his suggestions) might help. However, most of that cap space could be eaten up by Mitch Marner’s expensive new deal. 

Fox also looked at ways Dubas could bolster the Leafs defense. Given his salary-cap constraints, affordable free-agent options could include someone like Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman. “More doable” trade targets could include Vancouver’s Chris Tanev, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, Philadelphia’s Radko Gudas or Ivan Provorov, Ottawa’s Cody Ceci, LA’s Alec Martinez, Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov, or Carolina’s Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce or Dougie Hamilton.

SPECTOR’S HOCKEY: Tanev, Gudas and maybe Zaitsev are “doable”. Trouba is a year away from UFA status and might prefer joining a US-based club. The Flyers won’t part with Provorov, the Senators reportedly want to keep Ceci, the Kings will probably hang onto Martinez, and the Hurricanes likely won’t move any of the defensemen. 


SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler cites Elliotte Friedman saying Ken Holland is expected to decide within the next 24-48 hours on becoming the next GM of the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve offered him a five-year contract worth $5-million annually. If he accepts the job, Dave Tippett could be in the mix to become their next head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers also reportedly told Holland he’ll have complete autonomy over hockey decisions. That means he’ll determine who gets hired or fired with no meddling from the higher-ups. Toss in a lucrative long-term contract and this could prove irresistible for Holland. 

**UPDATE** TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports Holland is expected to get back to Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson today. It’s expected he will accept the position of Oilers general manager. 

Mark Spector recently suggested the next Oilers GM must bring in a suitable goaltending partner for Mikko Koskinen. With Jordan Binnington having taken over the starter’s job with the St. Louis Blues, Spector wondered if Jake Allen might be available. Free-agent options could include Semyon Varlamov or Brian Elliott. A young goalie like Winnipeg’s Eric Comrie looking for a chance elsewhere might be a good fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need a quality goalie to split the duties with Koskinen. There aren’t many viable options available via trade or free agency this summer. With their salary-cap limitations, they must avoid taking on another burdensome contract.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently examined why the Flames fell short in the 2019 playoffs and how to avoid repeating that fate. He dismissed the notion of entertaining trade offers for star forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. He recommends not shifting gears, sticking instead on building its youthful defense corps and help it develop and mature.

“You can’t slash-and-burn your way through a reasonably well-constructed roster that had a good October-to-April run just because you came up short in the playoffs. Sorry, but that would do more long-term harm than good.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sound advice from Duhatschek, though I daresay Flames GM Brad Treliving already reached that conclusion. Yes, their early playoff exit following a dominant regular season was disappointing. Their goaltending remains a big question mark that must be addressed for next season. However, there’s lots of good young talent on this club, some of which will only get better in the coming years. Best to remain patient. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2018

Latest on Dustin Brown, Torey Krug, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Filip Zadina and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s preseason loss to the Anaheim Ducks after being hit by a shot by linemate Anze Kopitar. No update was provided regarding his status.

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown injured during a preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Kings will provide an update on Brown later today. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug left yesterday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers with a lower-body injury. Blueliner Matt Grzelcyk is also sidelined with a lower-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Prospect center Jesperi Kotkaniemi will start the regular season with the Canadiens, who selected him third overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. “The 18-year-old Finn will become the first player in North America’s four major professional team sports who was born in the 2000s.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kotkaniemi was considered a long shot to make the roster this season but had a strong training camp and performed well in preseason play. The Canadiens could still return the youngster to his Finnish team if he struggles in his first nine NHL games to avoid burning off the first year of his entry-level contract.

THE SCORE: Detroit Red Wings prospect winger Filip Zadina will start this season with the club’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. He was the sixth-overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zadina also had a strong camp and looked good in the preseason. Still, it’s not surprising that he’ll be starting in the minors. The Wings usually prefer their top prospects get some AHL seasoning. 

THE DENVER POST’s Mike Chambers reports Colorado Avalanche forward Sven Andrighetto is out two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: NHL goaltending equipment continues to shrink as the league puts an emphasis on scoring. Starting this season, goalies will be wearing small chest protectors. “The overall aim is to boost scoring while at the same time rewarding athletic ability in the crease by eliminating unnecessary padding that wasn’t protecting goalies, but instead simply helping them block pucks.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the advances in goaltending equipment combined with the improved athleticism of today’s netminders it’s possible to reduce the size of equipment without compromising safety or hindering their ability to block shots.

TSN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Greg Terrion has died at age 58. Terrion spent eight seasons in the NHL from 1980-81 to 1987-88, two with the Los Angeles Kings and six with the Leafs. In 561 regular-season games he tallied 93 goals and 150 assists for 243 points. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Terrion’s family, friends and former teammates. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2017

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid could receive a significant pay raise on his next contract.

Connor McDavid could get a big pay raise, an update on Dion Phaneuf & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid could sign an eight-year contract extension with the club worth $13.25 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers could take McDavid and his agent to task for seeking such a lucrative contract. I’ve seen a few folks on Twitter attempting to disparage the McDavid camp by comparing his rumored new salary-cap hit to what Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million annually) and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin ($9.5 million) received following the completion of their ELCs.

However, the percentage of McDavid’s potential new annual cap hit would be similar to what Crosby and Ovechkin received coming off their ELCs. McDavid’s annual average value would be around 18 percent of the Oilers’ $75 million cap ceiling for 2018-19 (assuming a flat cap for that season. It could be higher). When Crosby’s five-year deal kicked in back in 2008-09, it was just over 15 percent of the Penguins’ $56.7 million salary-cap maximum for that season, while Ovechkin’s 13-year contract was worth around 17 percent of the Capitals’ cap ceiling in its first season.

Besides, what are the Oilers to do? Not pay their franchise player top dollar? Play hardball with the guy who could lead them back to championship glory? If they’re willing to pony up over $13 million annually to lock up McDavid during his playing prime, so be it. Should he reach all expectations and take over as the NHL’s top player over that period, it’ll be money well spent. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators intend to keep defenseman Dion Phaneuf. “Inquiries slowed after the Draft in Chicago and more so once Methot was traded to Dallas.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phaneuf’s partial no-trade clause also complicated things. Reports indicated the teams with interest in him weren’t on his list of acceptable trade destinations. 

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, they re-signed goaltender Mike Condon to a three-year, $7.2 million contract ($2.4 million annual cap hit).

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund underwent surgery on his left shoulder and will be sidelined until December.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers re-signed defenseman Brendan Smith to a four-year, $17.4 million contract. It’s worth an annual cap hit of $4.35 million.

BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Sven Andrighetto to a two-year, $2.8 million contract. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins re-signed forward Noel Acciari to a two-year deal worth $725K per season. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings re-signed defensemen Dylan McIlrath and Brian Lashoff to two-year contracts. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Steve Konowalchuk and Mark Morrison as assistant coaches. 

TSN: Rick Westhead reports of ongoing internal squabbling within the NHL Players Association. “In front of the 30 players in attendance in downtown Toronto, NHLPA special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider and union lawyer Bruce Meyer condemned player agents Anton Thun, Ritch Winter and Kurt Overhardt, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting.” The trio were accused of “misleading clients when they said the NHLPA has stonewalled requests for information about union finances.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this could be poisonous for association unity leading up to what could be another nasty labor dispute with the league if either side exercises its early opt-out option from the current collective bargaining agreement in September 2019, which could lead to another lockout a year later. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to address these disputes now so that they don’t become toxic before squaring off with the league in three year’s time. 


List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

Detroit Red Wings ship winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers.

The list of notable deals made leading up to today’s NHL trade deadline at 3 pm Eastern Time. I’ll have analysis of the day’s most notable trades tonight in my Soapbox

Winnipeg Jets trade winger Drew Stafford to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2017. 

Dallas Stars acquire minor-league defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Lauri Korpikoski.

Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017.

The Lightning flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. 

Pittsburgh Penguins trade forward Eric Fehr, minor-league defenseman Steve Oleksy and a 2017 fourth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Frank Corrado, 

Ottawa Senators trade forward Curtis Lazar and minor-league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick.

New Jersey Devils trade winger P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2017. 

New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Columbus Blue Jackets for blueliner Dalton Prout. 

Montreal Canadiens trade winger Sven Andrighetto to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for left wing Andreas Martinsen.

Colorado Avalanche trade right wing Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Avalanche also retained half of Iginla’s $5.33 million cap hit. 

Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. 

Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit. 

Vancouver Canucks trade winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in the  2017 NHL Draft.

Detroit Red Wings trade forward Steve Ott to the Montreal Canadiens for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft.